Using watercolours

Hello my Lovelies, 🙂

how has your weekend been so far? Are you chilling or have you been busy?
Well, we have had a very windy weekend so far. So I decided to go up into my studio and practise my watercolouring skills. Here in my little refuge I can sit, concentrate, listen to the wind, and swear like an old sailor. 😀

Why I Started Using Watercolours

Watercolours and I have a really long relationsip and it hasn’t been the best one. Imagine a young school kid who loves colours but isn’t the best one in creating picture. In elementary school the teacher was supportive and gave me helpful some advice. Later, in secondary school, my teacher was very critical and my best mark was a C plus. I polished my grades with knowledge about theory and history of art. When I was in my senior high school classes and could drop subjects, I decided to give up art and go to music. (I can play different musical instruments.)

My grandmother started watercolouring when I began with secondary school. She is still painting and enjoys it very much. My grandfather likes to say that I introduced my grandmother to the art of watercolouring.

So basically, I didn’t touch any sort of artistic paint brush for watercolouring for a really long time – I mean lots of years. Then I scrolled through Skillshare and found some really great courses. Because of that I thought it would be a nice try to practise a little bit.
Last year in Denmark I took my little Van Gogh set with me, a little notepad as well and I started with some small sketches. I looked for templates on Pinterest. There you can find a lot of pictures and some of them are a step by step instruction.

What You Really Need

The list of materials which you need is quite short:

  • watercolour paper (a minimum of 200gsm)
  • watercolours, obviously 😉
  • brushes
  • two old cups for water
  • paper towel(s)
  • optional: washi tape
  • optional: pencil and eraser

For the start you won’t need to buy an expensive set of watercolours because if you just want to test whether watercolouring could be a new hobby for you, buy a less expensive one. I have several watercolour sets like van Gogh or Winsor & Newton. Two sets of van Gogh are small with 12 colours while Winsor & Newton is a set of 45 colours. The cool thing about the smaller ones is that you can take them with you. So I did during our vacation in Denmark last year.

The huge variety of brushes is endless and the prices can vary a lot. Even there you should ask yourself what you really want. I started with a little set of brushes. Later I bought brushes in different sizes. These are just synthetical ones because they are pretty fine for me. There are really expensive brushes with natural bristles and maybe I will buy a few of them one day.

The watercolouring paper is wide field as well. At the moment I’m using a selection of different papers from 200 up to 600 gsm. The paper is made by Hahnenmühle. I like the idea to have seven different mould-made paper and five different Akademie watercolour papers with different surfaces. So just test some different papers and find those which you like most; by doing so, you can see how paper and colour can blend together. If you use paper under 200 gsm the paper will get wavy which can make it look quite unpleasantly.

I like to use two old marmelade glasses for the water. The trick with the two cups is that one is for the brush, so you can use it for cleaning the brush, and the second one for having clear water, so your colours stay bright. 🙂

I use some paper towels to dry my brushes. I don’t use a new one every time because it is just water with a little bit of colour. So I re-use them for a very long time.

Washi tape is just for fixing the paper to the desk and it helps that the paper doesn’t get to wavy. Some artists paint without any skeching at first. Well, I can’t do this. So I sketch first and paint afterwards.

My Practice

At the moment I try to practise once a week just to get some routine and get a feeling for the colours. The pictures are copies from artists. One day I hope that I can create a picture just by myself. My husband has book about Japanese store or house fronts by Mateusz Urbanowicz. I adore his designs. They are colourful with lots of details. He painted a lot of storefronts in Tokyo.
These images are quite difficult for me but I love them so much, because of that I try to recreate them. I hope that I could sit in Tokyo one day and sketch a store by myself. Big dreams as usual 😀

During my practices I discovered that I learn to push my drawing / sketching skills as well. That’s why I would say I learnt a lot during this journey. My biggest weakness are the right perspective and the right heights. I think that I need a course to fix these problems and then I have to practise a lot. But it will be worth it.

If I ask my husband, he likes everything I try. He said that I make progress. I hope he is right. 😀 I won’t call myself a budding artist, that would be too overconfident. I would say that I’m a person who enjoys watercolouring. 🙂
I recreate birthday cards for family and friends by using inspiration from Pinterest and so far they have appreciated my work. 🙂

Once I have been told that you need just 20 hours of practice to learn the basics of a new topic and reproduce/create what you learnt. Well, I have learnt some basics and some I still have to learn some more but I have the patience to keep going. The 20 hours mark I hit a while ago, but it doesn’t matter to me. I will enjoy my progress.

Wisdom of the day: Practice helps you to get better. Don’t be afraid to have ups and downs. The results matter. 🙂

Love to you all and stay healthy,
Your Evil Journalista Chrissi

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